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Teynham Parish Council Annual Reports 2015/16

 

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

The elections on the 7 May 2015, bought a number of changes. Teynham had an uncontested election with only eight of the eleven vacancies being filled, despite the Parish Council Elections being advertised far more on this occasion. Special Election Awareness Events were held in Sittingbourne and over the County. We however fared better than two parishes in Swale who were inquorate. All of Teynham Parish Councillors elected had served previously and are: Cllrs Brian Sharman; Rodney Thorpe; Peter Finch; David Mann; Sharon Spears; Mike Porter-Ward; Tony Rickson and Stewart Wood.

By autumn two of the vacancies were then filled, by co-option, by Cllr Glynn Lock who had previously served on the Parish Council and Cllr Jo Gifford, whilst new new to the task, has a record of public service as a governor at Teynham Primary School and has quickly made an enthusiastic contribution to the Parish Council. Later in the year we welcomed Cllr ‘Dick’ Whittingham, by co-option, and now enjoy a full complement of councillors, as has been customary over the years for this Council.

One of the Councillors who did not stand on this occasion was long standing Councillor Walter Lewis. Walter has served the Council since 29 August, 1979 and has been both Chairman of the Council, Vice Chairman and for the majority of his service Chairman of the Planning Committee using his expertise gained in his professional life. He was also a founder member of the Community Hall Committee. Walter received the Freedom of the Parish at the Christmas party held after the Precept meeting the Council. He’s the first recipient of the award, which honours his long and eminent service to the community.

The Borough Council Elections were also held on the 7 May, 2015 and we were sad to learn that Cllr Rick Barnicott who had served the Teynham and Lynsted Ward for a number of years would not be standing again. Cllr Barnicott had been of considerable support to the Parish Council and had approved several grants for various projects for which the Council was most grateful. His successor is Cllr Michael Whiting and we look forward to working with him in the coming years along with Cllr Lloyd Bowen who was re-elected.

Following the elections and after 38 years in the job the Clerk to the Council, Mrs Chris McIlroy, retired in August. Whilst inevitable, this came as a shock to the Council as it and its Committees had relied very heavily on her experience and expertise. It is true to say that the Council is still feeling the effects and it will be at least a full year before it can safely be said we are back on an even keel. A surprise retirement event was arranged attended by Parish and Borough Councillors and Gordon Henderson MP, who presented her with a certificate of appreciation from the House of Commons. To show her the Parish Councils gratitude a thank you dinner was held at the Dover Castle Inn.

Chris McIlroy’s replacement, chosen from a long list of applicants and after a series of interviews, was Mrs Hayley Steel. As the Parish Office has traditionally been in the Clerk’s home, a room in Haley’s house had to be suitably equipped and the phone number and email address for the Parish Clerk transferred. After a satisfactory trial period Hayley’s appointment has been confirmed. Unlike Chris’ who grew into the job as it expanded to accommodate the increased activities of the Parish Council, Hayley has had to continue where Chris left off. It has been formidable task which, despite family difficulties, she has undertaken well. There is no other job can reasonably equip a person to carry out the diverse task of being a Parish Clerk. I am sure Councillors have also learnt a lot since Chris’ retirement, about the running of the Council, I as Chainman certainly have.

Vehicle parking remains an apparently irresolvable issue in the Parish, particularly on the A2 outside of the Co-op on double yellow lines, the top of Station Road and along the Lower Road/The Crescent and at Barrow Green. KCC Cllr Bowles’ scheme for the new layby along the Lower Road/The Crescent has largely neutralised any of benefits that could have been achieved by inconsiderate parking and double parking

New Standing Orders and new Financial Regulations produced by the Finance and Standing Order Committee, based upon models published by the NALC, which were approved by full Council. Based upon the experience of having to conduct staff interviews this committee was renamed Finance and General Purposes Committee, it reflecting more closely its duties. A project was begun to produce Terms of reference for each committee. The Finance and General Purposes Committee recommended a 2016/17 budget of £51,000 which was approved by the Council.

Responding to residents’ wishes, the Council has been collating evidence from a number of people who for a long time used the alleyway between London Road and Frognal Gardens, which has now been blocked by black gates. Many have been using it for more than 20 years. Their evidence will eventually go to Kent County Council with a view to establishing it as a public right of way which should not be blocked off. The process could take as long as two years before a decision is made by KCC.

The new lease from the London Road Car Park is still in the hands of ours and SBC’s solicitors with an annual rent of £1.00 being proposed for an extended period. It has also been suggested by Trenport that that are willing to renew the lease on the Frognal Lane Playing Field, when in runs out later in the year, but with a condition to cover when development starts. Swale BC’s Local Plan for the period 2011 to 2031 has been before the Planning Inspectorate for Examination in Public and a further public consultation is being scheduled for the summer of this year. Proposals for the two other sites in the Local Plan, the land east of Station Road and the Barrow Green Farm site are awaited.

A serious crash in the early hours of New Year's Day, demolished the Jubilee Pump again, far worse than the 2008 incident. There were two male fatalities and man and a woman seriously injured. We have appointed Gransdens’ as our preferred contractor to secure the site with a view to rebuilding the pump. The matter is, at the time or writing, is in the hands of our insurance company, their appointed solicitor and Gransdens.

In common with other years, the Parish Council has been requested to comment on numerous consultation documents throughout the year, again too many to mention, which they have done to the best of their ability where they affect the Parish.

At their behest, during the year we tried to work with Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council to clarify the asset ownership and meet risk management, insurance and maintenance obligations relating to the Jubilee Pump. This work was been thwarted with difficulties and after a number of draft proposals from both sides the work did not reached any satisfactory conclusion and has stopped. We have refusing to take formal full ownership of the Pump, as they would wish, without evidence that Lynsted parishioners have been consulted.

It was the first time that the council had undertaken the selection, appointment and training of a new Parish Clerk, which proved to be very time consuming especially since the last incumbent had been in the post for 38 years. Despite the slow start and difficulties in getting Committees back up and running and their meetings arranged, since the elections and then the changeover of the Parish Clerk, I am very pleased that we have a full complement of councillors with a wide range of skills which I am sure will be put to good use for the betterment of the Parish and parishioners.

Cllr Brian Sharman, Parish Council Chairman

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PLANNING COMMITTEE


STREET LIGHTING COMMITTEE

Cllr Glynn Lock was elected Chairman of the Street Lighting Committee.

Cllr Dick Whittingham was elected onto the Street Lighting Committee. His military background and specialization gained in the Royal Corps of Signals will prove a valuable asset to this Committee.

The loan of £6,000 that the Street Lighting Committee had borrowed from the General Account has been converted into a grant and that a precept of £10,500 was agreed by the Parish Council for 2016/2017.

It has been agreed that a four (4) year rolling plan / program will be put into place to make the upgrade to LED lighting all street lights that are our responsibility.

Normal routine maintenance has been carried out, as and where necessary, by Streetlights in a timely and efficient manner throughout the period covered by this report. Major repair/replacement work has been approved to be carried out on light number 089 located in Frognal Lane.

At the meeting held on 23rd February 2016 it was agreed that Teynham Parish Council will adopt, with immediate effect, the responsibility for the future maintenance and running charges for the streetlight opposite number 6 Honeyball Walk. This light had been the subject of a great deal of correspondence, time and effort on the part of Cllr Sharman. No retrospective payments or charges would be considered or made by Teynham Parish Council.

Mr. Ken Bonner from Streetlights Ltd attended the meeting held on 23rd February 2016 at which he gave advice on which type of LED lamps would be most beneficial for Teynham Parish Council to have installed. LED is not just a whim, but the only current option for the future. He agreed to honour the reduced price of £295 per light for the entire 4 year rolling program upgrade.

Cllr Glynn Lock, Chairman

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EDITORIAL COMMITTEE

Now in its 33rd year the magazine has continued with two issues of 40 pages and two of 36 pages; around 17 pages were advertisements, front cover and Parish Council information. The remaining pages are articles and reports.

The level of advertising remains sound with most advertisements being block bookings, i.e. five adverts for the price of four. Advertising on the website remains good covering its running costs.

Regular contributions from clubs and societies are still being received. Historical and interest articles and photographs from parishioners have slowed as material is being exhausted. We continue to get positive feedback and support about these historical articles which is very encouraging.

We have begun a series of articles based on interviews of those who are making or have made a difference to the Parish. The first was Chris McIlroy, the second Walter Lewis and the third the Headteacher of Teynham School.

The Parish Council’s website, www.teynham.org, administered by the Editorial Committee, is still being updated as and when there is new content available. Teynham News is still reproduced in an electronic book form on the website, the cost of which is more than covered by electronic advertisements.

The Parish Council’s Facebook page has proven to be extremely successful providing a popular platform for disseminating news from the council, local events which are to take place and/or which have taken place. It has provided a very valuable vehicle for parishioners to liaise with the council either by asking a question or commenting about events. It was the main communication platform in respect of the matter regarding a newly-erected black metal gate blocking a well-used cut-through from London Road to Frognal Gardens..

Cllr Brian Sharman, Chairman

CAR PARK AND PLAYING FIELDS COMMITTEE

Car Park - The carpark is well used and is still in good order. The draft lease renewal has been received and will be signed to agree a 125 year lease at £1 per annum (if requested). This will run from 5th August 2015 to 4th August 2140.

The Meadow - The Meadow continues to be very popular, especially after school on a sunny afternoon. Consideration has been made to requests for more baby/toddler equipment, but we are currently looking into something for older children.

Litter continues to be an issue, although SBC refuse to put a bin in the meadow as they require 24hr access to empty it. I am currently in negotiation for a litter bin by the style into Honeyball walk.
Use of the carpark in the meadow by Teynham School has raised issues when the Hall has been in use, but I have spoken with Liz Pearson about this and we will be pre-warned of any event at the school that may need use of the car park

Frognal Lane Playing Field - This continues to be used by Teynham Sports Association and by dog walkers. Dog poo is less of an issue, although little bags containing dog poo being tied to fences is on the increase.

New goal posts have recently been installed.

The sports association continue strim the weeds and nettles at the edge of the park, and we have arranged for Cllr Woods to roller the field when it has dried out.

Quotes have been received to repair the fencing at Frognal, these will be discussed at the next committee meeting.

Approval was again given for the Carnival Committee to park and assemble the carnival floats on the Playing Field prior to setting off.

Cllr Jo Gifford, Chairman

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FOOTPATHS AND ALLOTMENTS COMMITTEE

We are in the process of looking into getting a kissing gate installed between Teynham Street and The Church, Cllr Wood is going to chase this up.

We are in the process of putting together a Footpath Map that will go into the Teynham News for every Parishioner. We are already decided on the layout and are awaiting a proof that we will bring before the Parish Council for approval. The map will be A3 in size and colour and will be folded to fit into the Teynham News. As Spring Teynham News has already gone to print we hope to get this included in the Summer Edition.

Cllrs Stewart Wood, and Mike Porter-Ward

FINANCE AND STANDING ORDERS COMMITTEE

The Committee met early in the year to finalise new Standing Orders and new Financial Regulations based upon models published by the NALC, which were subsequently approved by full Council.

It then met to interview candidates for the post of Clerk to Teynham Parish Council and Responsible Financial Officer, having first advertised the post, reviewed numerous applications and drawn up a short list for interviewing. A candidate was chosen whose appointment was subsequent agreed by full Council.

In November the Committee met to produce the budget for the financial year 2016/17. To keep the recommended precept as close as possible to the 2015/16 figures but still enable us to carry out our work, recommendations were made to accept the budgets produced by the various committees and for a precept of £51,000. The recommendations of the F&SO Committee were then placed before and approved by the full Council at their December 2014 Precept Meeting. It was confirmed by SBC that this represented a 0.55% decrease in our proportion of the Council Tax.

Cllr Brian Sharman, Chairman

TEYNHAM COMMUNITY HALL COMMITTEE

The Community Hall has enjoyed a good number of bookings, especially parties for adult birthdays and children’s parties, many of the latter having a bouncy castle and also using the PA system either in conjunction with an iPod/iPhone for music or for children’s karaoke. The end of year accounts should show a healthy profit.

Place2Be, the leading UK Organisation offering emotional support for children in schools under the Royal patronage of HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, have again rebooked the Hall for their 2016/17 training courses and tutorial sessions for the Medway and Swale areas.

The saplings from the Woodland Trust have been planted and have grown well, forming the basis of a hedge along the north side border of the site on which the Hall stands.

We continue to enjoy UKPW wrestling at the Hall which is proving to be extremely popular. The staff, wrestlers and the crowd, mainly children, have a wonderful time. Toddler’s football classes and radio controlled drift car racing club also being very popular. Due to a change in her domestic and work arrangements we were sad to see the departure of a dance tutor, who has hired the Hall for many years and a couple of her pupils who hired the Hall for special lessons.

The project to renew the kitchen is still progressing but with a different funding provider. Our preferred provider has changed their grant conditions to exclude local government from making applications. Using our own funding, along with the help of a localism grant from our Borough Councillors, we have had cavity wall insulation installed and thermal insulation above the toilet, entrance passageway and bar areas.

Cllr Brian Sharman, Chairman

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REPORT BY TEYNHAM VILLAGE HALL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE'S REPRESENTATIVE

The Teynham Village Hall Management Committee has again provided the parish with an excellent facility for the parish during 2014-15 with a most satisfactory year of bookings and a programme of fund raising events. The advanced bookings for 2015 continue to look strong and the financial position stable with income and expenditure more or less in balance. Most of the funding raising events were considered successful and entertaining, and although some were better supported than others, all events are understood to have either broke even or made a modest profit. A minor raising of selective hire rates was made earlier in the year and are being kept under constant review for 2015.

A number of improvements and upgrading of the facilities has been made, including a striking new external sign donated by Evelyn Winzar (in memory of her late husband), and new baby changing facilities.

The AGM resulted in a full complement of Management Committee members and trustees, and the Management Committee should be complimented for their efforts.

Cllr Peter Finch,

REPORT BY KALC'S SWALE AREA COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVE

A review relating to the benefits of KALC and NALC membership was presented by KALC officers Terry Martin and Clive Powell which included:                       
Staff levels are now three fulltime and one part time officer.

  1. The KALC membership survey sent to parish clerks is still open until 31st March 2016 and council clerks are requested to ensure completion before the closing date.
  2. The need for Parish and Town council referendums will not be imposed during the period including 2016-17
  3. The Government Housing Bill is passing through the Lords at this time and contains (but not limited to) Neighbourhood plans and CIL payments – i.e. housing development projects within the scope of a neighbourhood plan will attract a CIL payment to councils of 25% , whereas those without a NP will only receive 15%.
  4. New Audit arrangements come into force on the 31st March 2016 and a new sector body is being created to handle all town and parish audit arrangements – councils are able to opt out of the new arrangements before the 31stMarch
  5. A revised conference and training courses are being run on the 17th March 2016 and are targeted at new parish councillors.
  6. KALC recommend council plan for a formal training policy it be adopted by all councils to enhance the professionalism and public profile of their council. A policy document is availed as a model document and is available on the website. They suggest a modest budget be made available for training purposes.
  7. The future meeting dates are to be aligned approximately one month before the SJTB meetings and will be 8th August 2016, 7th Nov. 2016, and 6th February 2017.

Local Engagement Forums – It is reported the SBC are preparing to discontinue with the local engagement forums in both Sittingbourne and Sheppey due to lack of interest by the public (sounds familiar) while the fate of the Faversham (which is generally well supported) remains unknown.

Any Other Business
a) Waste and Mineral Plan Consultation - I gave a short presentation relating to the implications of the potential traffic issues on the A2 of the current consultation and requested all councils on the A2 corridor submit any objections to KCC before the closing deadline of the 4th March 2016.

Cllr Peter Finch .

REPORT BY TRANSPORT REPRESENTATIVE

The past year has been a varied and busy time for transport issues with major consultations and decisions under consideration and significant projects being planned or progressing.

The Aviation Industry is still in a state of limbo and despite a two year pubic enquiry by the Davis Commission into the location of the upgrading of UK airports (which recommended a third runway be built at Heathrow), the government have again delayed any decision for a further six months and have still not rule out expansion at Gatwick. (and may be in additionally to Heathrow)?. The delays in decision making by the government are reported to be necessary ‘to allow further environmental studies’ to be made. The question of aircraft flight routes has been very much to the fore with consultations as to employ either (1) a singular set of flight routes) to Europe or to (2) vary the flight routes throughout the year, to spread the noise and pollution over a wider area – Option (2) seems to be most favoured.

The Rail Industry has proved to be the most turbulent with Southeastern and Network Rail under continual criticism throughout the year. Due mainly to the London Bridge and Cross Rail upgrade projects, the south-eastern network has been subjected to constant cancellations, late arrivals and last minute re-routing of trains resulting in a high level customer complaints and a record level of compassion claims. The shutdown of major routes during national holidays and constant weekend line closures have been particularly disruptive, and poor planning of the replacement bus services heavily criticised as insufficient to cope with the demand.
The decision to upgrade the signalling systems the North Kent Line as the same time have also impacted on the weekend services with many complete closures and diversion of services. Infrastructure damage has also added to the disruption with landslips in the Erith area and recently the storm damaged at Dover – Folkestone which has resulted in complete line closure for the next few months.

During the past year, Southeastern have regularly been publishing revised timetables for consultation and with the expert help from Mr Davis Roper, we have responded to each in a objective and constructive manner sometimes with limited success, however we were please to report significant improvements in December 2015-16 with an improved stopping at Teynham Station, changes to the timetable giving improved services to Canterbury for stopping and late night theatre customers, and significant reductions to connection times at Faversham by switching the Teynham stopping arrangements from the Margate service to the Dover Service.
We will continue to petition for the restoration of the two trains per hour off peak service (withdrawn in 2009) at every opportunity in the future.

Teynham Station has also been fitted with a new ticket machine and the Permit to Travel equipment removed, and although a few complaints have been reported, in the main the equipment has been well received. Also the new automatic barrier system has been working well and no failures, complaints or incidents have been received.

Roads
The main topic of conversation on the agenda of almost every forum has been the issue of car parking around schools at peak times and the issue is prevalent in most parishes except Teynham thanks to the TVH and TPC allowing parking within the adjacent car park. The issue has been discussed at great length at the SJTB and SBC and KCC launched a trial pilot scheme to evaluate possible ways forward; regrettably, things do not appear to have moved on and no report of progress has been made.
With the recent tragic accident in Teynham over the Christmas period, the focus of incidents in and around Teynham has been highlighted with 28 serious incidents recorded over the past 10 years resulting in 7 deaths. The local councillors Cllrs. Bowen and Whiting are reported to be reviewing the historic accident records with a view of producing recommendations as to the way forward.
The traffic levels on the A2 section between Sittingbourne and Faversham appear to rising and pollution levels in Teynham have been reported unsatisfactory and are likely increase if the latest Local Plan requirements are adopted. The latest indications are that the rise in housing allocations targets and the developments of the Waste and Mineral plan could add hundreds of HGV and private vehicle journeys per day above the existing levels, and most of the extra traffic with require the use of this section of the A2. It is intended to TPC will submit an objection to the existing plan via the third consultation on the basis that the ‘transport plan’ for the Sittingbourne to Faversham section of the A2 has not been sufficiently evaluated and that the plan lacks soundness and sustainability.

The speed limit on the A249 at Sheppey Bridge has lowered to 50 mph, but has not been met with universal approval and is reported as not being observed by all traffic using this section of road, while newly installed speed CCTV cameras are only being used for surveying traffic flow and not for speed enforcement purposes.

The question of speeding in Station Road at school times has been raised and the Police traffic division has offered to carry out speed checks when possible, however they also offered the loan of the speed checking equipment if TPC wished to carry out our own survey, and they promised to send out warning letters to persistent offenders.

Cllr. Peter Finch (Vice Chairman)

REPORT BY POLICE CONSULTATIVE REPRESENTATIVE

PCSO Joshua Marshall, who is part of the six strong District Policing Team, continues to be the local police point of contact.

It is regretted that ant-social behaviour in the parish area remains a problem there being some 130 reported cases during the past year.

During the year the mobile police station has been regularly sited in the Village Hall car park giving parishioners the opportunity to discuss matters of concern with the local police team.

Cllr Rodney Thorpe

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